Cuadrilla wins monitoring station battle

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Gas exploration company Cuadrilla was today granted planning permission for its proposed monitoring and site restoration works at Grange Hill near Singleton.

In a move separate from a public inquiry continuing in Blackpool, the planning permission covers use of the existing well to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring after which the well will be plugged with cement and the site restored to its original greenfield status.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “We are very pleased with today’s positive decision by the Planning Inspectorate, which confirms that there

will be no significant impact to the landscape from the use of monitoring equipment at the Grange Hill site.

We will not be progressing any further work in the near term pending the completion of and decisions on the current appeals on our proposed monitoring and exploration sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.

“We will of course keep local residents informed of when any work would be undertaken.”

The original planning application was turned down by Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee in May last year on the grounds that there would be a detrimental impact on the local landscape.

Planning Inspector Elizabeth Ord determined that there would be no significant impact on landscape character and visual amenity, nor would

it cause unacceptable harm to the character or appearance of Singleton Conservation Area.

The well at Grange Hill was drilled to its target depth of 10,700ft during 2011. It was not used to hydraulically fracture the shale rock and no flow testing of natural gas was undertaken.